As the world raced to reach herd immunity in the fight against COVID-19, Canada implemented what the government called some of the “strongest” border measures in the world. In March 2021, Canadian officials announced that any travelers entering the nation would be required to “immediately quarantine in designated government facilities” if they tested positive for the virus.
Snopes readers asked our team to verify the travel restrictions put in place after the claim went viral following the March 31 airing of “Tucker Carlson Tonight.” During the broadcast, Fox host Tucker Carlson called the policy a “legitimately dangerous authoritarianism.”
“On Monday, the country’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau outlined his government’s new corona regulations. Canadians hoping to return to their country must be tested before and after takeoff,” said Carlson.
The television personality went on to quote the below authentic tweet from Trudeau, which was shared on Twitter on March 29.
Now is not the time to travel. If you have plans to head somewhere for the long weekend, cancel them. There are other, safer ways for you to connect with your family and friends. For those who need to travel, take note of the measures that are in place when you return to Canada:
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) March 29, 2021
The basic claim is true. As of this writing, travelers flying into Canada were required to show a negative COVID-19 test result before boarding the plane and must also take a second test once they have arrived in the country. Visitors have to wait at an approved hotel — at their own expense — while they await a negative test result.
“If your results come back negative for COVID-19, you’ll be able to head home and finish your mandatory quarantine there,” tweeted the prime minister. “If your test results come back positive, you’ll need to immediately quarantine in designated government facilities. This is not optional.”
Those driving across the land border will also be required to show a negative test result taken within the last 72 hours. Additionally, they will also need to take a test upon arrival and a third toward the end of their 14-day mandatory quarantine.
As of April 1, 2021, the temporary border restriction between the U.S. and Canada was still in place, prohibiting all discretionary or optional travel between the two nations. All travelers entering Canada, regardless of citizenship, were required to follow testing and quarantine requirements, which included a mandatory quarantine of at least 14 days after entering regardless of symptoms. At the time of this writing, those who had been vaccinated, tested negative, or recovered from COVID-19 were still required to quarantine. Those flying into Canada were required to spend three nights at a government-authorized hotel that must be booked and pre-paid before entering the country.
Additionally, travelers must demonstrate that they have a suitable plan in place for their quarantine before entering Canada, and foreign nationals without one may be denied entry. Those who arrive in Canada without a suitable plan to quarantine would be directed to a “federal designated quarantine facility” for the full 14-day quarantine period.
“These border measures are some of the strongest in the world — and they’re in place to keep you, your loved ones, and your communities safe,” tweeted Trudeau.
Health Canada and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) are in charge of overseeing the federal quarantine facilities, and have actively spoken out against claims that they resemble internment or concentration camps. In a Twitter thread posted on Oct. 21, 2020, Health Canada and PHAC noted that federally designated quarantine sites are typically hotel rooms — a measure that is only used as a “last resort.”
1/6 Federally designated quarantine sites, typically hotel rooms, are not internment camps. #Misinformation is circulating that Canada is using concentration camps for #COVID19 quarantine. This is completely false. THREAD ⬇️
— Health Canada and PHAC (@GovCanHealth) October 21, 2020
Exceptions are in place for essential travelers and other individuals who meet certain criteria. Click here to find out if you are eligible to travel to Canada.